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Princesses to get ‘$1,000 special reward’ for World Cup qualification

The government will reward the players of the Women’s U-20 national team, the Black Princesses, with $1,000 each for qualifying for the 2018 Women’s U-20 World Cup to be hosted in France in August.

The government is describing it as a “special package” which will be delivered on Friday along with their bonus arrears of $2000 for previous matches.

The Princesses qualified for a 6th consecutive appearance at the biennial event after beating Cameroon 3-0 at the Cape Coast stadium to complete a 4-1 aggregate victory.

Yussif Basigi’s team had earlier dispatched Algeria and Kenya with a 20-1 aggregate rout over both nations.

The 2018 U-20 Women’s World Cup will be held from 5-24 August, 2018 in France.

 

By: Citi Sports

Gov’t pump ¢12.5m into renovation of Accra Stadium

Sports Minister, Isaac Asiamah has officially given the green light for the commencement of phase one of renovation works at the Accra Sports Stadium.

This comes after several complaints from users of the facility. The edifice since its renovation in 2008 for the Africa Cup of Nations has been left in a deplorable state with many describing it as a risk zone.

Image may contain: 1 person, hat and phone

Sports Minister Isaac Asiamah at the Accra Stadium

But the government of Ghana has pumped in GH¢12.5 million for the first phase of the renovation which will be done by Coupbay Ghana Limited. They were chosen after processes of tender were undertaken by the Sports Ministry.

The company is expected to:

1. re-roof the VIP Lounge

2. replace the  damaged steel separators in the orange and VIP stands;

3. coat and paint structural steel members with appropriate protecting chemicals/ paints;

4. repair the scoreboard

The renovation works are expected to be completed in September this year, two months before the start of the 2018 African Women’s Cup of Nations.

Also, clubs – Hearts of Oak and Inter Allies – who use the stadium for home fixtures have been advised to seek comfort elsewhere.

 

Source: Ghana|Joy Sports

Chelsea ‘have to take another decision’ if not happy, says Conte

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says “the club have to take another decision” if they do not think he is doing a good job – after the 4-1 loss at Watford.

The champions suffered a second straight Premier League defeat by three goals and are in fourth place, one point ahead of Tottenham.

“My position? It is the same,” he told BBC Radio 5 live after Monday’s game.

“I stay here, try to work and put all of myself into the work. The pressure? Which pressure? What is the pressure?”The Italian won the league in his first season in charge, but the Blues are 19 points behind leaders Manchester City after a 3-0 home defeat by Bournemouth and the Watford reverse.

Before the game, Conte asked the Stamford Bridge club to release a statement backing him.

“I work – if this is enough it is OK,” he said after their latest defeat. “Otherwise, the club have to take another decision.”

Chelsea – who had Tiemoue Bakayoko sent off after 30 minutes – were deservedly beaten by the Hornets, with four of the game’s goals coming in the last 10 minutes.

The hosts led through Troy Deeney’s penalty three minutes before half-time. Eden Hazard scored an 82nd-minute equaliser, before late strikes by Daryl Janmaat, Gerard Deulofeu and Roberto Pereyra.

Conte started without a recognised striker, bringing Olivier Giroud – signed from Arsenal on transfer deadline day – on for a second-half debut.

The former Juventus and Italy boss, who has 18 months left on his contract, said his team looked “uncomfortable”, adding: “We tried to play football but I think today we didn’t show this.

“In this situation, the fault is the coach’s – maybe I made a bad decision with the starting XI.

“When you start in this way and play in this way you have doubt about the game. During the game it is difficult to change something; afterwards, you can understand it.

“In the second half, I saw a great will but at the same time a lot of confusion. We don’t play in this way.

“We have to accept this and fight a lot in this season.

 

Source: BBC

Andre Ayew rejoins Swansea on 3-year deal

Swansea City have re-Signed Andre Ayew from West Ham United in a club-record deal.

Ayew has put pen to paper on a three-and-a-half-year contract at the Liberty Stadium after the Swans agreed an undisclosed fee with the Hammers.

The 28-year-old forward returns to Wales having left the Swans to join West Ham for £20.5 million almost 18 months ago.

His arrival is a major boost for boss Carlos Carvalhal, who has been looking to strengthen his forward line throughout the January transfer window.

Ayew is a proven Premier League player who finished as the Swans’ 12-goal leading scorer in his one previous season at the club.

The Ghana international, the older brother of Swans frontman Jordan, first moved to SA1 from Marseille in the summer of 2015 on a free transfer.

He immediately settled into the English game, scoring in his first two Swans appearances, and was an influential part of the team which overcame a difficult first half of the season to finish in mid-table.

Ayew’s contribution – his 12 goals came in 35 appearances – persuaded West Ham to spend big to take him to East London in August 2016.

He heads back to the Liberty having scored 12 goals in 50 West Ham appearances, 31 of which were starts.

The versatile forward will wear the No. 19 shirt in his second stint as a Swan.

Source: Swansea City FC

Man City see off battling Bristol City to reach final

Manchester City reached their first final under Pep Guardiola as the Premier League leaders beat battling Bristol City in the Carabao Cup.

Already leading 2-1 from the first leg, goals from Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero and Kevin de Bruyne at Ashton Gate ensured Manchester City’s place at Wembley on Sunday, 25 February.

They dominated the first half and Sane deservedly put the visitors in front shortly before the break, with his deflected shot bouncing in after Bernardo Silva had dispossessed Hordur Magnusson.

Manchester City looked to have all but killed the tie early in the second half when Aguero’s strike across goal rounded off a lethal counter attack.

The Championship team produced a rousing final 20 minutes to give Guardiola’s side a brief late scare, with Marlon Pack’s smart header and Aden Flint’s stoppage-time goal threatening for a moment to take the tie into extra time.

But De Bruyne’s calm finish with the final kick of the game denied Bristol City a creditable draw on the night and confirmed Manchester City’s place in the final where they will face either Arsenal or Chelsea, who play the second leg of their semi-final on Wednesday.

The Robins, meanwhile, will turn their attention to converting their current fifth place in the second tier into promotion – with their four previous victories over Premier League opposition in the Carabao Cup giving them a taste of what they hope is to come.

Guardiola has previously used this competition to rest and rotate a number of his star players, but he picked a near full-strength side for the second leg, making just two changes to the team that beat Newcastle in the Premier League on Sunday.

His selection was tribute to the way Bristol City had performed at the Etihad a fortnight ago, impressing many with their adventure and attacking intent.

There would be no such repeat at Ashton Gate, however, with the away side taking complete control almost from the very first whistle.

Aguero’s cross clipped the bar and David Silva’s low shot had to be palmed away even before Sane’s opener – and once Manchester City were able to add a ruthless streak to their overall dominance it was always going to be a big ask for the home team.

Despite the impressive late rally, culminating in makeshift striker Flint stabbing in for 2-2, the visitors were still more than good value for their victory across both legs.

They had 68% possession and finished Tuesday’s game with 28 shots on goal, scoring from three of the six they got on target.

Can Man City do the quadruple?
Guardiola is now just one game from winning his first silverware with Manchester City, having endured only the second barren season of his managerial career in 2016-17.

The 47-year-old Spaniard, who won 14 trophies in four years as Barcelona boss and a further seven in three years at Bayern Munich, is hoping to lead City to an unprecedented quadruple.

He has repeatedly played down his team’s chances of achieving that feat, yet they continue to fight strongly on all fronts – already 12 points clear in the Premier League, they have also reached the last 16 of the Champions League and the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Domestically, only Liverpool have found a way to beat them so far this season, meaning the one apparent remaining question mark is over whether they can translate their league and cup form into European competition.

If they are able to progress beyond FC Basel and into the quarter-finals of the Champions League, even at this early stage they may seldom have a better opportunity of sealing a clean sweep of league and cups.

A step too far for brave Bristol City
Lee Johnson and his players earned plenty of plaudits after their first-leg defeat, with Guardiola describing Bristol City as a “fantastic team” and lauding their style of play and attacking intent as “good for the show”.

Despite trailing on aggregate throughout the second leg, the fact they became only the second team since October to score twice in a domestic match against Manchester City spoke volumes of both their quality and spirit.

The Robins had already seen off top-flight sides Watford, Crystal Palace, Stoke City and famously Manchester United on their way to the last four – though two legs against the runaway Premier League leaders was always going to be a tall order.

Following a tentative opening period, during which they were pinned back for long spells, they looked much more of a threat with the half-time arrival of £5.3m summer signing Famara Diedhiou.

Head coach Johnson will now hope the return of Diedhiou, who has missed the past three months with a knee injury, can also inspire his side towards achieving the ultimate goal of securing top-flight football for the first time since 1980.

“I’m very proud, not just of the team, but of the club,” said Johnson.

“It was a fantastic run. The fact is, it has taken them two injury-time goals in both legs to beat us.

“We came close to a draw today. They are a top, top side, probably the best side I’ve seen live.”

What they said:
Bristol City boss Lee Johnson: “We came close to a draw. They are a top, top side, probably the best side I’ve seen live.

“They have so many players that are intricate and have class on the ball and sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say ‘they are a better side than us’.

“But the spirit we showed, we never gave in and we continued to try and attack and scored two goals and not many teams can score two goals against a side like that.”

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on Sky Sports: “We are so happy to be there, to reach this final. We played an amazing game until 2-0 and then we lost control, these type of games never end until the end.

“At 2-0 we knew it would be easier because they needed three or four goals but with one minute left it was 2-2 and anything could happen.

“It’s not for me, it’s for Manchester City, a club who are trying to reach another level. We try to keep going, the important thing for me is to be there.”

What next?
Bristol City resume their bid for promotion to the Premier League as they host QPR on Saturday, 27 January (15:00 GMT).

 

Source: BBC

VIDEO: Ronaldo borrows doctor’s phone to check facial injury on pitch

Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo broke his dry spell in a powerhouse performance Sunday – but it wasn’t his goal-scoring that made headlines.

Coming off with an injury, he borrowed a mobile phone camera from his doctor – to check his face in the “mirror”.

As commentators laughed, declaring they had “seen everything now”, Ronaldo shook his head with displeasure.

“Ronaldo took his obsession with his image to new heights,” Reuters sports news wrote after the match.

“The most Ronaldo moment ever, simply incredible,” offered sports site Benchwarmers.

“Ronaldo staring at himself in the mirror even while he’s on the pitch,” offered one commenter on BBC Sport’s report.

Despite the rampant mockery on social media, Ronaldo’s injury – caused by a boot to the head from Deportivo La Coruna’s Fabian Schar – was deemed serious enough that he could not continue.

 

If it seems that fans and the media gave Ronaldo a hard time for checking a significantly bloody injury, the star does have some history of talking about his looks.

In 2011, he famously declared that opposition supporters booed him because he was “rich, handsome and a great player”.

“People are envious of me,” he said. “I don’t have any other explanation.”

Sunday’s performance bore out his claim of being a great player – the striker managed to sink two goals before being led off the pitch.

The final result of 7-1 was enough to bump Real Madrid up to fourth place in La Liga.

 

Source: BBC

Man City end pursuit of Alexis Sanchez

Manchester City have decided not to pursue their interest in signing Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.

The club have decided the cost of pursuing the 29-year-old would be prohibitively expensive.

Manager Pep Guardiola, the club’s owner Khaldoon al Mubarak and other senior officials are all in agreement.

It is understood the wages being demanded by Sanchez would have put him ahead of all City’s star men, something the club decided they would not do.

Manchester United are favourites to sign the Chile international after indicating they are willing to meet the Gunners’ £35m asking price for the forward.

Sources with knowledge of the situation say they understand Chelsea are also interested in the player.

They claim the overall package being negotiated is higher than the £60m for which Arsenal agreed to sell Sanchez to City in the summer.

City still believe Sanchez would prefer to join them, given his past relationship with Guardiola and the fact he pushed to join them in the summer.

However, they view it as highly unlikely Sanchez will drop his financial demands to a level that would allow them to resume talks.

‘If he moves we have a chance’

Speaking after his side’s 3-0 victory over Stoke on Monday night, United manager Jose Mourinho said: “There is no news on Sanchez. He is an Arsenal player; if he stays it’s great for Arsenal, if he comes to us, great for us, if he goes to another club, great for them.

“There are probably other clubs also interested and trying and I shouldn’t talk about a player who is an Arsenal player.

“I am not confident but also not unconfident. If he moves I think we have a chance.”

Source: BBC

Coutinho says £142m Barca move is a ‘dream come true’

Brazil midfielder Philippe Coutinho says his move to Barcelona is a “dream come true” before his official presentation at the Nou Camp on Monday.

The 25-year-old is set to join the Spanish giants after a £142m deal was agreed with Liverpool on Saturday.

He took part in a brief photo session at the Nou Camp after Barcelona’s 3-0 win against Levante on Sunday.

Coutinho will officially sign his contract at 11:30 GMT on Monday before being presented to the public.

“Hi Barca fans, I am already here, it is a dream come true and I hope to see you tomorrow, ” he said in a video message on Twitter.

Later, in an interview with BarcaTV, Coutinho added he was excited to be soon playing alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

“It is incredible to know that I am going to live with idols, players with a lot of history,” he said.

“Footballers like Leo Messi, Luis Suarez, [Andres] Iniesta, [Gerard] Pique, [Sergio] Busquets.

“I am very happy to be able to live together, to be able to learn from them and be able to win together.”

The playmaker will sign a five-and-half-year deal and will have a buyout clause of 400m euros (£355m).

It is one of the most expensive transfers of all time, eclipsed only by the £200m Paris St-Germain paid Barcelona for Neymar last summer, and the £165.7m Kylian Mbappe will cost PSG at the end of his initial loan spell from Monaco.

Speaking after the Levante game, Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde said it was “too soon” to determine where Coutinho will play in his side.

It has been speculated that he could play alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in attack or become 33-year-old midfielder Andres Iniesta’s long-term successor.

“We can take advantage of his versatility,” Valverde said.

“He scores and sets up goals, and going forward he can help us a lot as he can play both inside and out wide.”

Valverde is confident Coutinho can improve a side that is nine points clear at the top of La Liga.

“I think he can bring a lot to the team,” he added.

“He is here now, and good luck to him, because if he has luck then it will be good for us.”

Barcelona midfielder Paulinho plays alongside Coutinho for Brazil and is looking forward to linking up with his compatriot at club level.

“He is a great player, a magnificent player,” the former Tottenham player said.

“I am certain he will really help Barca to attain our objectives this season.

“We hope to see him playing for us as soon as possible.”

 

Source: myjoyonline

Mohamed Salah named 2017 African player of the year

Egypt star Mohamed Salah has capped the most successful period of his career by winning the 2017 African Player of the Year award.

Salah clinched the individual accolade ahead of 2015 winner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane in a poll of African national team coaches.

The result was announced at the annual Confederation of African Football (CAF) awards on Thursday night in Accra, Ghana.

“Winning this award is a dream come true, 2017 was an unbelievable year for me,” Salah said after receiving the trophy.

“I would like to dedicate it to all the kids in Africa and Egypt, I want to tell them to never stop dreaming, never stop believing.”

Mohamed Salah

The 25-year old has now won the two biggest personal accolades for African footballers in the space of a month after claiming the BBC Player of the Year. 

Salah played a key role in Egypt’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign, where they reached the finals. In addition, he was the joint-top scorer – five goals – in the 2018 African World Cup Qualifiers, guiding Egypt to their first FIFA World Cup since 1990; scoring a 94th minute penalty against Congo to win the match and send Egypt to Russia next summer.

The former AS Roma forward has become an instant hit in England after joining Liverpool in the summer. He has bagged 23 goals for the Reds in just 29 appearances, five of them coming in the UEFA Champions and 17 in the Premier League.

In total, Salah netted 39 goals in 60 official games he played for both clubs and country in 2017.

Other Awards:

Platinum Award – Nana Akufo-Addo (President, Republic of Ghana)

Platinum Award – George Weah (President-Elect, Liberia)

CAF Legends Award – Ibrahim Sunday (Ghana & Asante Kotoko)

Football Leader of the Year – Yahya Ahmed (Mauritania)

Club of the Year – Wydad Athletic Club (Morocco)

Women’s National Team of the Year – Bayana Bayana (South Africa)

Coach of the Year – Hector Cuper (Egypt)

Youth Player of the Year – Patson Daka (Zambia)

Women’s Player of the Year – Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria)

 

Source: Ghana|Joy Sports

Herbert Mensah eyes Ghana FA top job

Former Asante Kotoko Board Chairman Herbert Mensah has exclusively revealed to Joy Sports his desire to succeed current Ghana FA President Kwesi Nyantakyi.

The Ghana Rugby President’s name has been on the lips of some football pundits who have looked his direction in suggesting leadership options for the Ghana FA should Nyantakyi exit in 2019.

Nyantakyi has openly declared that he will not seek re-election when his tenure expires in two years.

”Somehow, somewhere I will quit, I believe that a time will come that I will have to put down my tools, take off my boots and probably put on a different boot,”

”I have announced already that after the end of my current term, I will not contest.” The CAF vice and FIFA council member said on Joy News show UpFront two months ago.

And since then, potential candidates continue to show up. Former Ghana FA Vice President Fred Pappoe has said “I’ts fairly possible (he would contest)”.

But Randy Abbey, a former communications director of the FA has ruled himself out as a candidate for the Presidency.

However, Herbert Mensah says he is interested in the top job, but questions if the systems are really ready to deal with someone of radical thoughts?

‘’I have a track record in terms of managing people, in terms of dealing with global capital and seeking change without compromising certain value systems, the answer is not always yes.’’

Herbert Mensah has a wealth of experience in football administration, having served as Board Chairman of Asante Kotoko and rival club Ashanti Gold.

He is credited with making a major contribution to changing the face of Ghanaian football, establishing the SOS (Strategic Outsourcing Solutions) network which provided management services to football and continues to be a link between grass-roots sport and the professional world.

 

Source: joy sports

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